Legislator Bill Gaylor and the Nassau County Legislature honored three Nassau County Police Department Detectives as Top Cops for August 2022. The three detectives: Daniel Finn, Gina Salerno and the late Patrick Bellotti, helped solve a 1968 Cold Case of the murder, beating and rape of Diane Cusick at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.
Detectives Finn and Salerno took over the case in 2021 from the late Detective Bellotti who had preserved all the evidence. The Detectives reviewed the evidence in the case jacket and re-interviewed numerous people involved in the original investigation. They submitted DNA evidence, which matched with Richard Cottingham, who is currently incarcerated in New Jersey State Prison on an unrelated homicide. Cottingham, also known as the Torso Killer and the Times Square Killer, is a serial killer and rapist who has murdered at least 12 young women in the New York metro area between 1967 and 1980. Cottingham was charged with Diane Cusick’s murder on June 22nd, 2022.
“This case shows that Nassau County Detectives never give up,” Legislator Bill Gaylor said. “Thank you to Detectives Finn, Salerno and Bellotti, who have been able to give closure to the Cusick family and put this gruesome chapter in Nassau County history behind us.”